Today TEK has carried a story about a debate in Canada regarding Internet privacy. It seems that Canadians could soon be "snooped" on by authorities as they work online and chat on the phone. If the changes in Canada are passed into law the reason given will be to help stop child pornography. You have to wonder though if this step, which many see as a step too far, will achieve what it claims is its purpose. "Spying" on citizens without the need for a warrant has many obvious downsides. It smacks of "Big Brother"
In the UK there have been attempts to close some websites accused of making copyrighted music freely available. Richard O'Dwyer is still facing extradition to the US after website TV Shack was closed down by US Federal authorities. In January 2012 website Megaupload in Australia was closed down and its bosses arrested.
Today, February 15, 2012, in the UK RnBXclusive.com has been shut down.
The site has been closed by SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The website now carries the image above warning that users may have also committed a crime by using the website possibly facing criminal charges.It warns that visitors who have used the site to download music they could face up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
The UK authorities told the BBC that, "Soca targets organised criminal enterprises profiting from the exploitation of the UK public and legitimate businesses. Continue reading the main storyMembers of the public can become facilitators of organised crime by obtaining property or services from its perpetrators” In a statement SOCA said, "Much of the music offered for download by the RnBXclusive.com website was illegally obtained from artists, leading the industry to attribute losses of approximately £15m per year to the site's activity."
Such websites cost industries such as the music industry dearly and have been accused of in effect damaging the careers of artists. The leader of Pirate Party UK however said, "The explicit threat to visitors of the site and take down notice is alarming."The claim that the information gathered can be used to identify visitors and their location, followed by a statement that Soca has the capability to monitor, investigate and inform visitors internet service providers of apparent 'infringements', making visitors liable for prosecution seems extreme and unduly threatening."
It does seem excessive in that surely some of the site's users must have been unaware of the true nature of the site.
OPINION: You can agree with some of this. It would be hard not to. However the extreme actions currently being undertaken seem to be derived from more than simple copyright breaches. Perhaps many governments are running scared of the Internet after they have praised its use by rebels in countries such as Libya and Syria.Action definitely needs taking to halt child pornography, adult pornography when the adult has not consented and video piracy. Are the changes currently being pursued appropriate? You decide.